BMW Unveils Reworked, U.S.-Built X3

The fourth-generation lineup is headed by the 393-hp X3 M50i xDrive.

Greg Kable

June 21, 2024

5 Min Read
BMW X3 M50i xDrive powered by 3.0L, 393-hp turbo-6.

BMW reveals the fourth-generation X3 ahead of launching North American sales for the 5-seat SUV during fourth-quarter 2024, confirming the initial lineup will be headed by the new, 393-hp turbocharged 3.0L 6-cyl.-powered X3 M50i xDrive with 48V mild-hybrid properties.

The U.S.-built model is comprehensively redesigned, giving it a completely new appearance with modern cues and stylistic links to the larger electric iX.

Key exterior design elements include a large, angular grille with differing inserts and patterns depending on the model, along with optional illumination. The clamshell-style hood features a scalloped central section housing the traditional blue-and-white roundel BMW badge. New-look LED headlamps are standard.

The steel body features smoother surfacing with less structure than that of the third-generation model introduced in 2017, with finely etched wheel arches and shoulder lines along the sides. The glasshouse is also deeper. At the rear, the tailgate features a heavily hooded angled rear window and houses individual taillamps with a new horizontal design.

The standard wheels measure 18 ins., with 19-, 20- and 21-in. wheels optional.

A lower ride height contributes to a 1.0-in. (25-mm) lower overall height at 65.4 ins. (1,661 mm) while helping reduce the drag coefficient from a previous 0.29 to 0.27 with the most aerodynamic model in the new X3 lineup, the gasoline-electric X3 30e xDrive plug-in hybrid (pictured, below).


Reflecting the fact that it uses the same cluster architecture (CLAR) platform as its predecessor, the wheelbase remains the same at 112.8 ins. (2,865 mm), though the wider body sees the front and rear tracks increase in width for a moderately larger footprint.

The exterior styling differs significantly from that of the upcoming electric-powered successor to the iX3 previewed by BMW’s Neue Klasse X concept.

Interior styling changes are as extensive as those made to the exterior, giving the cabin of the new X3 (pictured, below) a significantly more contemporary look and feel.


The design and materials of the rounded dashboard and center console lean heavily on those first unveiled on the electric-powered iX. The former supports a single curved digital display incorporating the instruments and infotainment functions, with the latter housing a deep bin with cupholders and a smartphone charging pad as well as a slider-style gear selector and a rotary controller for the X3’s iDrive system, which is based on BMW’s ninth-generation operating system that supports third-party apps and streaming services as part of an optional Digital Premium package.  

A hexagon-shaped steering wheel with multi-function controls, extravagant door trims featuring triangular door handles, ambient lighting and touch-sensitive controls also provide clear links to the iX.

As with its predecessor, the fourth-generation X3 provides seating for up to five. Nominal luggage capacity has increased by 0.7 cu.-ft. (198 L) to 20.1 cu.-ft. (569 L) owing in part to a longer rear overhang, extending to 62.5 cu.-ft. (1,770 L) when the rear seat is folded down. Towing capacity is 5,512 lbs. (2,500 kg).

The new X3 will be sold with a limited range of upgraded drivetrains – all featuring either 48V mild- or plug-in-hybrid properties as well as an 8-speed torque converter-equipped automatic gearbox and an upgraded all-wheel-drive system for added efficiency and improved fuel economy.

Heading the initial lineup is the X3 M50 xDrive with a turbocharged 3.0L BMW M-developed gasoline 6-cyl. boasting mild-hybrid properties via a starter generator. It develops 36 hp and 59 lb.-ft. (80 Nm) more than the non-hybrid unit used by the older X3 M40i xDrive at 393 hp and 428 lb.-ft. (580 Nm) of torque for a claimed 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 4.6 seconds and limited 155 mph (250 km/h) top speed.

It will be joined from the outset of sales by the X3 2.0 xDrive. It runs a turbocharged 2.0L gasoline 4-cyl. with mild-hybrid technology, offering 205 hp and 229 lb.-ft. (310 Nm) of torque for an official 0-62 mph time and top speed of 7.8 seconds and 134 mph (216 km/h), respectively.

A less heavily tuned version of the X2 2.0 xDrive’s 4-cyl. engine is used by the gasoline-electric X3 30e xDrive in combination with a gearbox-mounted new electric motor. The combustion engine develops 188 hp and 229 lb.-ft. with the electric motor contributing an additional 181 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (250 Nm). Together, they provide an overall system output of 295 hp and 332 lb.-ft. (450 Nm) for a claimed 0-62 mph time of 6.2 seconds and 134 mph top speed.

The sole plug-in hybrid model in the X3 lineup also adopts a 7.7-kWh larger capacity lithium-ion battery at 19.7 kWh than that used by its predecessor, providing it with an electric range of between 50 and 56 miles (80 and 90 km) on the WLTP test procedure.

BMW will continue to offer the X3 with a diesel engine in selected markets. The turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. with mild-hybrid properties develops 195 hp and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) in the X3 2.0d xDrive.

Further models are planned, including a successor to the X3M set to be unveiled in 2025.

BMW says it has focused heavily on improving the X3’s dynamic qualities. All models receive a standard steel suspension featuring double wishbones with a significant 19-degree increase in caster for added steering response at the front and multi-links at the rear in combination with new elasto-kinematic properties and a wider rear track. The steel body structure is claimed to be lighter and more rigid than before.

As with the previous model, customers can choose between two optional suspensions, including a so-called Adaptive setup with constantly variable dampers as well as an M-Sport suspension with firmer damping, more direct steering and upgraded brakes – the latter standard on the M50 xDrive.The new X3 also introduces a wider range of standard driver assistance systems, including front collision warning, lane departure warning and speed limit information, along with lane change warning, manual speed limit assist and camera-based parking assistant with a reversing assistant.

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